One of the hardback art books I have on my shelf is called “Andrew Wyeth, The Helga Pictures.” My edition is from 1987 with the text written by John Wilmerding. So, you might be wondering by now, who is Helga? As written on the inside flap of my book, it states that she was “‘model, Helga Testorf, a neighbor of the Wyeths in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania.” On the cover of this book is my favorite Helga portrait paintings by Andrew Wyeth. To me, the artist has captured the beauty of the bone structure of the human female face.
And, flipping through one of my old National Geographic, July 1991 issue, I found an article written about The Wyeth Family with the following written by Richard Meryman on page 92:
“She was quite remarkable in her earthy, German quality,” says Andrew Wyeth. For 15 years Wyeth and his model, neighbor Helga Testof, collaborated in secret. When revealed in 1986, their hundreds of intimate works stunned the art world__and turned Helga’s world upside down. “Art is selfish,” says Helga, who has never before allowed her photograph to be published. “Do you think I’m selfish,” asks Andrew. “Yes,” she says, “But you can call it love.”
Written by Mary Gilmartin, May 19, 2013